AQIVA Newsletter: Summer 2019

August 1, 2019

posted by Joanna Tubbs

Summer 19

Our last newsletter was sent out late April, since when we have had a multitude of seasons so we thought we’d start this time with some of the flora and fauna that have been showing their faces between then and now.

One very special event has been the resurfacing of Chesterton Lane which brought enthusiasts from far afield to view the activity.

Obelisk

Our work parties have done a pretty good job this summer of keeping the site looking clean and tidy, and there was a lovely display of forget-me-nots back in May. We even managed to do a fair amount of clearance of the snowberries, which were making their annual takeover bid. A few new faces have come along to help – you know who you are, and thank you so much. However, the overall level of support is disappointing and with the limited resource we have, maintaining the obelisk area has to be our sole focus of attention, meaning that other locations we would like to spend some time on, do get neglected.

Amphitheatre

Perhaps one of the most exciting things to happen since we started over 5 years ago has been the completion of the toposcope. It really is quite special and if you haven’t been to see it yet, please do go along.

We had mentioned previously that we were exploring the possibility of an outdoor theatre event during 2020. However, there is a significant financial commitment that needs to be made to the touring companies that put on such performances, with no guarantee of recouping that by ticket sales, and also a considerable amount of support work that needs to be done. Therefore, we have reluctantly decided not to proceed.

Querns Wood

As part of Love Parks Week (albeit delayed due to bad weather), a Go Wild in the Woods day was arranged for kids, kindly organised and managed by the Cotswold Forest School. Seems to have been quite a special, well attended day.

Four Acre Field

As mentioned in our last newsletter, the kids from Chesterton Primary School came along in March for the annual wild flower sowing. As also mentioned, this year we had decided to limit this to six separate flower beds, rather than try to tackle the entire length of the east side of the field, the thinking being that the maintenance would be more manageable. The flowers did indeed look wonderful, although a little late due to the sustained dry spell that followed after sowing. However, once we hit the period of mixed sun and rain, the whole area again became swamped with brambles, nettles, docks and other things, to the point where much of the effort that had been put in was lost. The resource needed to maintain even this reduced area was not available, so we have to have a complete rethink about what, if anything, we do next year.

This is what we planted
It all just keeps coming back!

There is, however, a possibility that, as part of their “Wild Towns” project, the Gloucestershire Wildlife Trust may undertake some wild flower sowing in the field, as well as some work in the area by the amphitheatre (over by the dual carriageway) and at the bottom of the slope where the small stream runs down from the obelisk, with a view to diversifying the habitat. This is still an open project being explored.

Having commented on maintenance issues in the field, the original area of sowing (the slope at the bottom end) has been ignored for the last couple of years, but there has been quite a lot of self propagation and there was a fair amount of colour in places this year.

From the planting in earlier years on the slope

For the first day of Love Parks Week, AQIVA again organised some childrens’ events, with Tesco kindly once more sponsoring a football training session and 5 a side (or thereabouts) match for the kids – our thanks to them for running a very enjoyable couple of hours. Thanks also to Cirencester Primary School for the loan of their equipment.

We also again ran a nature trail quiz for the younger kids, although not as many turned up this year as last.

Volunteer programme

There will be one more volunteer work party this year, Tuesday 3rd September 2019, 6pm – 8 pm at the obelisk. Is there any point in pleading?

Visitor counts

Completed for this year. Thanks to everyone who helped out

Future events

BAT TALK AND WALK – as part of our contribution each year to Heritage Open Day, this has become an established favourite: last year, we had around 60 people turn up. This year, it will take place on Saturday 14 September 2019, starting at 6.30pm in the scout hut on Cotswold Avenue (GL7 1XW) with a talk about bats, which will be followed by a walk around the amphitheatre to look for bats as it goes dark

  1. Please bring a torch
  2. Children must be accompanied by a responsible adult
  3. IT IS FREE!

Communication

Apart from this newsletter, you can find information and photos on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/FriendsOfAmphitheatre

See also the notice board at the entrance from Chesterton Lane into 4 Acre Field

If you would like any more detail, please contact our secretary, Alison, at aqivasec@gmail.com.

If you have friends, family, neighbours or anyone who might be interested in learning more about what is going on, please pass on our contact details.

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